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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert McCarthy joined The Buffalo News in 1982 and has been political reporter since 1992. A native of Schenectady, he graduated from St. Bonaventure University.


Politics

For Republicans hoping to succeed Chris Collins in the 27th Congressional District next year, the tried and true label of “conservative” suddenly seems downright wishy-washy. “Ultra-conservative,” “hyper-conservative” or even “right wing” seem more preferable to candidates wooing the party leaders who will choose among them for a 2020 special election. And that means pr…

Columns

Election 2019 is in the books. Election 2020 is underway: • Democrat Nate McMurray has all but cemented his encore candidacy for the 27th Congressional District with endorsements from seven of the district’s eight counties. But the big kahuna – Erie County – has yet to weigh in. How come? Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner hopes to settle it all on Thursd…

Local News

Western New York Republicans and Conservatives are fuming over delays in filling the vacant seat of former Rep. Chris Collins –  and they may even sue to force Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo into calling a special election at the earliest possible date. According to several party officials and candidates close to the process, Cuomo’s hints of an April 28 special election in conju…

Local News

A second Democrat appears to be emerging as a candidate seeking the 27th Congressional District seat vacated in September with the resignation of former Republican Rep. Chris Collins. Melodie K. Baker, a veteran education advocate with social service agencies, was scheduled to announce her candidacy on Tuesday in Genesee County. She told county leaders over the past few…

Columns

News, notes and observations following Election 2019: Give Lynne Dixon credit – the unsuccessful Republican/Independence candidate for Erie County executive did pretty well. Dixon lost by seven points to Democratic incumbent Mark Poloncarz, close enough to pronounce that her candidacy was worth a shot. That seven-point difference, however, serves a sobering message t…

Local News

Lynne M. Dixon achieved at least some Election Day goals last week with big victories in the Democratic enclaves of Lancaster and Hamburg, while squeaking by in West Seneca’s similar blue turf. But the unsuccessful Republican/Independence candidate for county executive discovered all too bluntly the power of the Democratic Party in places such as Buffalo, Amherst, Tonaw…

Erie County

Democrat Mark C. Poloncarz cemented his dominance of Western New York politics Tuesday with a convincing victory over Lynne M. Dixon, his Republican/Independence challenger for Erie County executive. Poloncarz joined fellow Democrat Dennis T. Gorski as only the second county executive to gain a third term,  notching a solid — but not overwhelming — win with all votes co…

Local News

It was supposed to be a “quiet” election in 2019. The contest for Erie County executive always produces the lowest turnout of the four-year election cycle, and the ballot greeting voters Tuesday features only a few competitive County Legislature races along with just two contested races in the City of Buffalo. Still, the county executive faceoff between incumbent Dem…

Local News

As James Niwinski and Gordon Wyntjes lined up their shots at the Cheektowaga Senior Center pool table a few days ago, talk turned to Tuesday’s big election for county executive. Both are Democrats, and both plan to vote. Wyntjes, a retired store manager and insurance executive, seems to represent the solid suburban voter that incumbent Democrat Mark C. Poloncarz needs t…

Columns

Democrat Mark Poloncarz is muscling his team into action this weekend, flexing every possible power of incumbency as he confidently faces the voters on Tuesday. Lynne Dixon, his Republican/Independence opponent, is demonstrating her own energy – the kind stemming from a scrappy underdog whom nobody is dismissing. That’s the state of the Erie County executive contest …

Courts

For years, Western New York’s party chairmen always found a way to fill their campaign coffers with major contributions from the candidates they anoint for State Supreme Court. Some candidates forked over $7,500 two decades ago for the “expenses” of judicial nominating conventions. Others diverted thousands from their own campaigns for causes dear to party chairmen – th…

Columns

Corey Lewandowski has reached the same conclusion as most Americans. “I talked with the president on Sunday and I told him I think he will impeached,” Lewandowski related to the Politics Column a few days ago. “And it’s a complete political impeachment, in the sense that they have not accused him of any clearly defined crime. “But in the hyperpartisan environment of …

Local News

It took just a few hours for the campaign to succeed Chris Collins in the 27th Congressional District to launch in a big way Monday via the local airwaves. Early morning viewers of Fox affiliate Channel 29 and commuters tuned to WBEN Radio heard ads sponsored by a powerful Washington super PAC called Club for Growth that attacked State Sen. Christopher L. Jacobs, a majo…

Local News

In the end, David G. Bellavia concluded he will always be a soldier. The Medal of Honor winner from Orleans County said he will not seek the virtually guaranteed nomination of Republican leaders in the 27th Congressional District for a 2020 special election. He will instead embrace the special role the Army has asked him to play since President Trump draped the nation’s…

Columns

Ray Walter has been diligently watching TV this election season, especially all those negative ads aired by both sides in the contest for county executive. The former assemblyman and current vice chairman of the Erie County Republican Party challenged Mark Poloncarz four years ago, and he can’t recall one negative ad that the Democratic incumbent aired against him. “…